Cost of living guide for students in Sydney

By mia_scape
Apr 29, 2024
Sydney, known for its stunning harbourfront, iconic landmarks but the cost of living can be a concern for many. This detailed guide will navigate through those costs, focusing on how students can make the most of their budgets.

Sydney, known for its stunning harbourfront, iconic landmarks like the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge, and its vibrant culture, is a premier destination for students from around the globe. Its educational institutions are among the best, but the cost of living can be a concern for many. This detailed guide will navigate through those costs, focusing on how students can make the most of their budgets.


Detailed monthly cost of living for students in Sydney


The average cost of living in Sydney for students ranges between AU$2500 and AU$3000 per month. This includes the cost of accommodation, food, transportation, and other expenses. If you are an international student, this cost may be slightly higher when you factor in items such as health insurance.


Accommodation in Sydney is a significant part of a student’s monthly budget. Depending on the location and type of accommodation, students can expect:

  • Shared Rooms in Student Apartments: Ranging from AU$340 to AU$400 per week. These are typically in prime locations, offering a balance of privacy and community.
  • Private Rooms in Shared Apartments: These could set you back AU$400 to AU$600 per week, providing a personal space while still sharing some facilities like the kitchen and living areas.
  • Private Studio Apartments: For those preferring complete privacy, studio apartments range from AU$470 to AU$800 per week. Prices soar in the city centre but can be more reasonable in outer suburbs.

Purpose built student accommodation providers like Scape also offer amenities, utilities, high-speed internet, security, and vibrant community events, all included in the rent.


With Sydney’s diverse culinary scene, food expenses can vary:

  • Home Cooking: Budgeting AU$100 to AU$150 per week for groceries is realistic for most students, allowing for a healthy, balanced diet.
  • Eating Out: Sydney boasts an impressive range of dining options. Students who dine out frequently might spend AU$200 to AU$300 weekly.


Sydney’s public transport system is extensive but can be pricey:

  • Public Transport: A monthly pass for students costs around AU$160, offering unlimited access to buses, trains, and ferries across the city. With an Opal card, eligible students enjoy cheaper travel across buses, trains, ferries, and light rail. The card is easily topped up and managed online, offering convenience and budget control. Opal |
  • Alternative Transport: Cycling, walking, or skateboarding are popular and cost-effective ways to navigate the city’s student-friendly areas.

Health Insurance for International Students

Health insurance is a mandatory requirement for international students in Australia, ensuring you have access to healthcare services without facing high out-of-pocket costs. The Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) is designed specifically for international students and must be maintained for the duration of your student visa.

The average cost of OSHC can range from around AU$500 to AU$600 per year for a single policy, which covers visits to the doctor, some hospital treatments, and limited pharmaceuticals. While Scape does not directly provide health insurance, our team offers guidance and resources to help you find the right coverage to meet visa requirements and personal health needs, ensuring you’re fully supported from the moment you arrive. Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) | Study Australia


Additional Expenses

Students should also budget for:

  • Mobile Phone: Around AU$30 to AU$50 per month for a decent data plan.
  • Entertainment and Leisure: Costs vary widely but expect to spend AU$50 to AU$200 monthly, depending on lifestyle choices.
    • Luna Park: A classic Sydney experience, with student entry prices around AU$50 for unlimited rides. Amusement & Theme Park in Sydney | Luna Park Sydney
    • Cinema: Tickets usually range from AU$20-$40. Scape also hosts movie nights and other events, offering free entertainment options to its residents.
    • Beaches and Parks: Free to enjoy, Sydney’s beaches and parks are perfect for relaxation or study breaks.
    • Scape Events: Scape’s comprehensive event calendar includes free or discounted access to some of Sydney’s top attractions, workshops, and social gatherings, promoting a balanced and enriching student lifestyle.


Comprehensive Look at Student Accommodation Options


Scape Sydney

Living in a Scape property means embracing a supportive community that’s tailored to enhance the student experience. The rent covers not just a fully furnished space but also access to communal areas, events, and all utilities. It’s an all-in-one package that, while appearing costlier upfront, offers immense value and convenience. Find a room in one of our Sydney properties.


On-Campus Accommodation

Prices and amenities vary, with some including meal plans and most utilities. Costs can be higher than other options, but the proximity to campus and included amenities offer great value.


Private Rentals

While initially seeming less expensive, private rentals often don’t include utilities and require a significant outlay for furnishings. Shared houses in suburban areas offer lower weekly rents but come with additional responsibilities and costs.


Maximising Your Budget in Sydney

  • Food: Shopping at budget supermarkets, like Aldi, and cooking at home can substantially reduce expenses. Meal planning and sharing with housemates can also help. Scape residents have access to individual or shared kitchens, allowing for a cost-effective alternative by cooking at home. Budgeting AU$100 to AU$150 per week for groceries can ensure a balanced diet without overspending.
  • Transportation: Taking advantage of student discounts on public transport and embracing cycling or walking for shorter distances can cut costs. Scape’s properties are thoughtfully located to ensure that residents have quick access to public transportation or can easily walk to their university campuses. This proximity significantly reduces commute costs and time, making a monthly pass for unlimited travel around AU$160 a sound investment for farther travels.
  • Entertainment: Scape goes beyond just accommodation by offering a calendar full of free or subsidised events, enabling residents to enjoy the best of Sydney’s lifestyle and culture. These activities not only foster a sense of community but also offer significant savings on entertainment expenses.